Photo by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
ROUND ROCK, Texas – After being named Rookie of the Year earlier this week, El Paso Chihuahuas infielder Ty France was named the 2019 Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player on Friday.
France joins outfielder Hunter Renfroe (2016) as the only players in El Paso’s short PCL history to win the award.
France, who was tabbed by Baseball America as San Diego’s No. 28 prospect entering the season, had been the Chihuahuas everyday third baseman prior to his promotion to the Padres.
In 76 games with the Chihuahuas, France hit .399 (118-for-296), with 118 hits and 27 home runs. His .399 average would have set a new modern era PCL record (.384, Jose Martinez, Omaha, 2015) and would have been the highest batting average since Ox Eckhardt also hit .399 in 1935, but France did not meet the minimum number of at-bats to qualify.
The all-time PCL record is also held by Eckhardt, which he set in 1933 with a .414 batting average.
The Downey, Calif., native did not hit below .359 for a 30-day period that he was in Triple-A, and his batting average for the season never fell below .303. His average dipped to .303 just eight games into the 2019 season on April 11, and never went below .351 from that point on.
Frances’s most prolific offensive month came in June, when he hit .359 (28-for-78) with 10 home runs and 27 RBI while posting a 1.272 OPS in just 21 games.
France adds another accolade to a growing list for his play this season, as the 25-year-old was named both a mid- and postseason All-Star as well as the aforementioned Rookie of the Year award. France, who started at third base for the PCL in the Triple-A All-Star Game, was the All-Star MVP after hitting a solo home run in the PCL’s victory over the International League.
France was also named PCL Player of the Week twice during the 2019 season (April 21 and June 16).
The Padres 34th round selection of the 2015 draft out of San Diego State University began the season with the Chihuahuas and hit.418 (33-for-79) with nine home runs and 28 RBI in 19 games before making his Major League debut on April 26 against the Washington Nationals.
In his only at-bat of the game, France notched his first Major League hit off Nationals relief pitcher Kyle Barraclough as a pinch-hitter.
In his minor league career, the seventh-year professional has played in 534 career games, hitting .294 (575-for-1957) with 69 home runs and 352 RBI. He has been a mid-season
All-Star each of the last three seasons including back-to-back midsummer classic nominations in 2017 and 2018 with the San Antonio Missions, then in the Double-A Texas League.
Since 1932, the PCL has named an MVP in every year except 1973, and from the years 1976-79 when no award was given. From 1932-47, Sporting News selected the PCL’s MVP and beginning in 1948, the Charles H. Graham memorial Award was established to honor the League’s Most Valuable Player.
Along with France, four other players received votes including; Kevin Cron (Reno), Kyle Tucker (Round Rock), Seth Brown (Las Vegas) and Mike Gerber (Sacramento). France joins Robb Quinlan (2002), Adam Eaton (2012), Chris Owings (2013), Joc Pederson (2014) and last year’s winner, Josh Fuentes, as the only players in PCL history to win both Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season.